Establishing paternity on behalf of a child born to unmarried parents can provide the child with important benefits. With a legal father, the child will be eligible for his or her dad’s health insurance and veteran’s benefits, child support and the chance to have a relationship with both parents. There is more than one way to establish paternity. Some of them are simple while others might require the assistance of an experienced attorney.
When a couple is married or in a domestic partnership at the time of a child’s birth, the husband is automatically considered the legal father. His name appears on the birth certificate and he is legally responsible for financial support for the baby. If the parents are not married or in a domestic partnership, they can both acknowledge the father and sign a Voluntary Acknowledgment of Paternity. Fathers who establish paternity through this method gain all the same rights as married fathers.
However, in cases where one or both parents are not sure of paternity, legal intervention may be necessary. Either parent can file a petition with the court to establish paternity. When a case is filed by a mother, it is vital for the alleged father to attend the hearings. If he doesn’t, the court can issue a default order and hold him responsible for financial support of the child. By working with a skilled Family Lawyer in Poulsbo WA, an alleged father might ensure his rights are respected and every effort is made to determine the true paternity of the child. This is generally done through DNA testing.
After paternity has been settled, a noncustodial father can petition the court for parenting time. Recent studies have shown that children who spend time with both of their parents are better adjusted and happier overall than those who spend all of their time with one of their parents. This has been found to be true regardless of the financial situation of either parent and whether or not the noncustodial parent pays child support regularly. A Family Lawyer in Poulsbo WA might help their client through the process of finding out whether they are actually the father and then getting the appropriate court orders to allow them to spend time together.